Live and Learn: The Journey of an Amateur Waitress
Lessons I learnt from Waiting on people
I spent most of my adult life chasing one particular thing, that thing was not to wait on and serve others.
With a twist of turn in fate, I was out of work and suddenly had plenty of time at hand. It was during this time an opportunity to explore life in different directions presented itself. A friend of mine had introduced me to her aunt who caters for different events, She often needed manpower to deliver an excellent service.
My friend's aunt called on me one day and asked, Could you lend a helping hand? I am short of manpower. It was a surprise birthday party for a woman who just turned 80.
I never thought of finding myself as a waiter before this time, neither have I ever embarked on such a journey for whatever reasons people journeyed into this profession. But, I took on board the opportunity as I had taken many others in the past and treated it as an adventure.
With all intent and purpose, I went to discover the catering world and the hospitality package that came with it. I journeyed into this world with all trepidation of the unknown and with a fearful courage of wanting to know how things run behind the scene, 'I just had to know'.
My tasks were simple, to display my creative flare in helping to tie Gele, a traditional headgear, to stand behind the buffet table and help to dish out food. I had one thing on my mind, if all else failed, I would take comfort in the several delicacy food, elegantly displayed in the buffet dishes.
My first client loved her Gele (head tie) style so much, she strutted her stuff around the venue until she was asked the question, 'who tied your gele for you?. she promptly informed them my where about in the venue.
It is unusual to put a cost on this kind of service in a Yoruba setting where many people can tie their gele but the setting was in an English setting where very people do not know how to tie the gele. Many people wanted the same unique service but were not willing to pay for the service. I was on an official duty and I must stick to the plan at hands and collect payment for each headgear. My enthusiasm soon died down and I packed up the Gele service as i joined the rest of the crew behind scene.
After my quick exit from the Gele tying world, I found myself In the food court where I quickly resumed my other tasks. I was assigned to stand behind the buffet table, to dish out the food - I was confused, Isn't this supposed to be a serve yourself setting? I asked others around. Everybody else just nodded.
I walked up to the aunt who had hired me, You don't have to serve in a buffet setting, they are meant to serve themselves, I explained.
But she wouldn't hear it, The clients wants the food to be served, she retorted. Your colleagues have a menu card at hands, they have gone to ask the guests their preferences and will come back to you, all you have to do is to dish out the food to your colleagues and they will take the food to the guests. she explained in a 'I'm very busy, go and do as I say right now tone'
I walked back to my station. I was glad to be stationery behind the buffet table , I did not want to join the other waiters on the menu hunt, taking orders and then delivering it to their table. I certainly did not want to get any further confused, mix up the orders and then be subjected to verbal abuse as the situation turned out in the end.
I learnt some important lessons on that day. Always be prepared in the face of adversity. Be brave and bold to seize any opportunities, See a cry for help as an opportunity to learn and learn from speeches of the day.
Here, I learnt from the celebrants' son, 'we always say that God is in our heart but what we should always aim for is to be in the centre of God's own heart like David in the bible'. The celebrant son, learnt from his parents, in his youth days to always save from his meagre income and to also give back to his parents some of his income. At the time his parents asked him to pay tithe to them, It seemed like what he was told to do was too much to ask for, he grumbled and murmured yet he heeded their instructions, this paid off for him many years later when he needed to stay away from his parents. His savings saw him through many many months after leaving home before he was able to finally find his feet in the world as a young man.
This experience taught me some life lessons, I hope you find one or two to take away as well:
Seize every opportunity that comes your way and you will be surprised what other doors opens up to you
Take every opportunity as an adventure and you will be exposed to a whole different life.
Brace and prepare yourself for the unexpected
Waiting on people is a courageous work to do
Waiting on people can be very demanding
Brace yourself to be on your feet all through your shift
Learn to manage your orders and the people who make the orders
Be friendly yet professional in all your dealings during your shift
Open your ears and eyes to your surrounding
Learn from others testimonies
And many more
Reminiscing on my bed at the end of the day, I couldn't but not think that, there is nothing like waiting on people, serving others and been on the other side of the table. It humbles and connects different souls, as we grin and bear, we also leave with greens and beers.